In this economy, more and more of my friends and family are also eager to adopt a simpler, more frugal lifestyle. Fortunately, although the change can seem daunting at first, it’s fairly easy to get started on the path to frugal living.
Here are some of the things Donnie and I did when we first decided to start living more frugally. How did you make the change from consumerism to a simpler lifestyle? Or have you always been cost-conscious?
We started eating at home more often. Even though our food mostly came from jars and boxes in the beginning, we were still spending less than we would have on takeout. Plus, we were building the skills and habits of frugal cookery that we still use today.
We started a change jar. This has been one of the greatest tools in our effort to live more frugally. It's amazing just how much money you can accumulate in a simple change jar.
We stopped buying everything we wanted. I know this sounds obvious, but it wasn't at the time. We had become accustomed to simply purchasing anything that struck our fancy, whether it was books, DVDs, clothes, movie tickets, or meals out. Breaking this habit was hard, but we've made some real progress. Now we try to stick to the necessities of life, and skip the extras.
We paid closer attention to energy expenses. We started actively turning lights off before leaving the room. We shortened our showers, and turned the water off when we brushed our teeth. We stopped using heat at night, and instead piled on the blankets. In short, we became more aware of how we were using our energy, and saved a good bit of money as a result.
We switched to generic brands. Before we knew the first thing about couponing or CVSing, we decided to purchase only generic brands at the grocery store. We didn’t save nearly as much as we have through coupon shopping, but it was a good first step, and it made an immediate dent in our grocery bill.
Thanks to these changes, we're in much better shape than we were two years ago. How about you?